The Sound of Silence – Day 9 & 10

Vocal Nodule Update – Day 9 & 10

Yesterday was Day 9 of my silence to heal my vocal nodules. It was reasonably uneventful. Honestly, I think I experienced a shit and I just don’t even feel like trying to communicate any more. I’m letting my thoughts that I would usually speak aloud just slip away unsaid. It’s just too much trouble to try to write things down in the moment.

Yesterday when we went to the gym, I didn’t even bring my writing board with me so there wasn’t even a semblance of trying to communicate with my husband. He spoke a little in the car and I nodded and listened but other than that, I just went in to my own world.

So I guess it’s gotten easier, but quiet on a whole new level.

Speaking Without Thinking – Day 8

Yesterday Geoff asked me, “Would you like to go to see the Toronto All Star Big Band play at Crystal Beach?”

“Sure, let’s go.” I answered without thinking before slapping my hands over my mouth. He had a good laugh over that.

It’s been more than a week of silence to let my vocal nodules heal but the slips just keep coming. I manage quite well when I’m conscious of it, but being caught while thinking about something else is a whole other story.

Had a nice time dancing at Crystal Beach. Saw a few people we know and managed to write to them a few words and let Geoff do the speaking. People came over to us to ask about our dancing. I thought they might find it weird that Geoff was doing all the talking, but once he took ownership of the responses nobody seemed to notice that the wife was silent. Is that normal? I guess there are some relationships where the men do all of the talking. Very old fashioned. I’m not used to letting someone speak for me, particularly about dancing. Weird experience.

When it’s urgent, speak – Day 7

Staying silent to heal my vocal nodules isn’t getting easier as the days go on. It depends completely on the circumstances. And frankly, if it’s urgent, I’m going to speak. There were a few stressful and urgent situations yesterday, and I ended up speaking. It was less than ideal, but these were not things I could easily write.

For example, when you’re in a bathroom stall stuck with no paper and you have to ask the person beside you (luckily it was my mom) for some paper. This was one of the reasons worth speaking, in my opinion. Am I right?

It was an ambitious day. My mother loves the Niagara-on-the-Lake Peach Festival and came for a visit. We went for a picnic, then went to the busy festival, then antiquing and wine tasting. Back to my place for a rest, then out to dinner before she returned home. It was a nice day but pretty challenging under the silent treatment.

I feel like yesterday was a bit of a write off, though it was less than 5 sentences spoken and a few more whispered. I’m not thrilled about it, but I’m not happy either.

I’m Not Deaf – Day 6

Day 6 of voice rest for vocal nodules. Today I went to the health food store. The lady asked me if she could help with anything and I shook my head ‘no’ and showed her my button. She then proceeded to write down her question for me.



I also became very overwhelmed earlier by not being able to communicate with my husband. It’s just not that practical to write everything down, and it’s slow. I found myself whispering a few times today, but that’s a big no no. Need to nip that in the bud tomorrow.


Running into everyone you know when you can’t speak – Day 4

My title is a bit of an overreaction, but that’s how yesterday felt. Yesterday was Day 4 of my silence to let my vocal nodules heal. It had been a pretty successful day. I managed to do a business meeting by Skype with a business colleague who is also a friend and she did the talking while I did the talking. It was a little weird but she was a terrific sport about it.

There was the usual yelp when my Lovebird bit at my feet and some laughing, both on the Skype call as well as with my husband, but things were going quite well. Then it was off to the gym. I don’t usually speak with people at the gym, but once in a while there’s someone who wants to say something to me. I opted to wear my “CAN’T SPEAK” button which was probably a good idea. I did see one fellow that sometimes comes over to talk to me but I sort of pretended that I didn’t see him to avoid an awkward confrontation.

It was when I was the change room that I heard from behind, “Well hi stranger!” And I turned around and saw a lady that used to be on the same gym schedule that I was back when I moved to St. Catharines. My natural reaction, and quite loud, was to reply, “Hi! It’s so good to see you!” Before my eyes went wide and I covered my mouth. Oops! I dashed over to my locker and grabbed my button and went over to show her and ended up whispering (even though whispering is worse than talking), “I’m not supposed to speak but I keep forgetting. I have vocal nodules.” It was pretty silly and awkward. Oops.

The bummer about this is that, though I don’t remember her name, this is a girl who I think I should try to make friends with. Though I now know a lot of people in St. Catharines, I only have a couple of people who I would call friend and who I would actually hang out with. I don’t even remember this nice girls name, but I feel like she and I could be on the same page. I recently made a new friend at the Niagara Jazz Festival that I think could really develop into a quality friendship but it’s being postponed by my forced silence. Connecting with one potential friend is making me hopeful about making some other connections. But alas, it will have to wait.

After the gym I wanted to duck into Sport Chek across the street to buy a pair of gym shorts. The transaction at the counter was fine, but leaving the store I ran into another person from the Jazz Fest. At least she had seen me with my microphone and was aware that I had a voice condition.

Last stop was the grocery store. Once again, there was an acquaintance down one of the aisles. I pretended that I didn’t see them and hurried off to another part of the store. It’s just too tough to go through the game of charades.

I hope that I run into the lady from the gym again once I’ve begun talking. I wish I’d had a piece of paper; I would have left her a note on her locker with a better explanation and my email address. Maybe I’ll carry something with me before my next evening workout.

Famous Last Words – Day 3

Day 3 of my mandatory vocal rest to try to heal my vocal nodules. There were 2 events of note today.

This morning, I couldn’t help but blurt out, “OH SH!T! ANTS!” when I discovered a line of ants marching right up my bird’s cage to his food dish. How could I help myself? I cleared away all of his food and newspaper and hauled the cage outside to hose it down. Usually I take care of Gaudi while Geoff hoses down the cage but I somehow managed to do it all with him on my shoulder. I thought I might miss the window for the swimming lanes but I still managed to squeeze in a 30 minute swim on my lunch break.

Gaudi is my special needs Quaker Parrot; he’s completely blind. Gaudi depends on touch and sound and manages exceptionally well, but he’s very sensitive. Before going silent, my primary concern was about how Gaudi would respond to me being silent. I can whistle though because it doesn’t use my vocal cords, so I’ve been whistling all the live long day, and he actually likes it and recognizes that it’s me so it’s basically been fine. Until tonight, that is.
This evening, just as I was thinking about how well things had been going with Gaudi when things took a turn for the worse. It was like in my head I had said the famous last words to jinx how well things had been going. Gaudi was on my shoulder and heard Geoff speaking and got confused about who was who and started biting me. I couldn’t say any of the things I usually would to reassure him and the whistling was not cutting it. He started to bite in confusion and then I couldn’t get him back on his cage. I probably should have just spoken but I felt truly handicapped and helpless. He was very frightened and lashing out and I got pretty emotional. It was pretty awful.

The biting incident in the evening was a definite low point, but I feel less tired today. Tomorrow will be better.

I Sneezed and Said “Excuse Me” to No One – Day 2

Yesterday was Day 2 of my vocal rest to heal my vocal nodules. It was a holiday Monday. My husband went to work to trade for taking a day off on Friday instead so I decided to do some work too. I haven’t got all that much to do while I’m staying quiet anyways.

My little bird Lindy continues to nip at my toes and I’ve given a few “ouches” without being able to stop myself. Surprisingly, Gaudi has been just fine with me whistling but not speaking. I was more concerned about him since he’s blind and is used to our patterns of communication. I did record several of our songs and routines before going silent but I haven’t used it much.’

One funny thing that happened not once but twice yesterday is that I sneezed, and out of habit I said “excuse me” to no one. That was pretty ridiculous.

In the afternoon, I put on my button and headed to the gym:


On my way out, as I was getting my bike from the garage, the neighbour across the street called hello. I waved back, but then she asked “How are you?” and I was too far away for her to see my button. I just kept waving but I felt quite rude. I should ask Geoff to explain my silence to them.

At the gym, the button seemed to be helpful when I was arriving at the front desk. I decided to wear it upstairs while I was exercising but I think that was a mistake. It’s a very large button and it was drawing attention to me which is not what I want. I don’t run into people I know at the gym too often, so maybe it’s better to just not wear the button and risk having to play charades if someone does talk to me. I could carry a little card with an explanation but in the context of the gym, I don’t have pockets.

Speaking of charades, last night Geoff and I tried to go on a bike ride together. We could hear loud music in the distance and I knew it was Rib Fest which I did not want to go to. I’d left my writing board at home which was silly. Geoff wanted to go check out the music. I kept pointing to my ribs but he didn’t clue in. “Rib cage?” “Bra?” “Tickle?” It wasn’t until we were nearing downtown that he figured it out.

I did have one really strong slip yesterday when a woman walked out in front of my bike on the way home from the gym. I couldn’t help it, and I guess it was necessary, but it was loud. I’m not sure if it was my imagination or not, but after 1.5 days of mostly silence, it felt harsh on my throat.

I didn’t have any accidental speech in the evening when I was tired like I did the first day so that was an improvement.

I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t got much going on but I’ve felt very tired for the last couple of days. I slept 9 hours last night. Maybe I’m still recovering from the jazz festival.

Silent Retreat – Day 1

Day 1 – My “silent treatment” has begun! My priority this month is to let my vocal nodules heal, and to take a break from a lot of busy-ness to focus on overall health. I’ll be mostly silent for the next few weeks save for new client calls.

So far, as I expected, the main challenge has to do with my birds. It’s very hard not to make an exclamation When Lindy Decides to play day by biting your toe. She also flew into the garden when I opened the door to put out a spider. She doesn’t want to escape, but she loves to be chased. I didn’t even realize I’d spoken until after I retrieved her. That will take some practice.

I have what’s called a boogie board to communicate with my husband. That part will take getting used to, but is mostly fine. I can see already that it’s going to be a bit tough when he isn’t directly in my line of vision though. It’s so natural to call to someone in the next room or even on the other side of the room. I’ve already had to follow him around a couple of times already to share something with him. I have a little whistle too but I’ll share that for urgent matters. I’ve also got a “CAN’T SPEAK – mandatory voice rest” button that I’ll be wearing this month. I’m sure that will raise questions when I do go out, but other than at the gym, I’ll carry the boogie board with me. I’m going swimming 15 minutes. I hope nobody will try to speak with me there.

I’ll take a few new client calls this month since this is a transition month for my business. My vocal therapist thought that would be fine. She’s actually at odds with the doctor and thinks that I don’t need to go silent at all since I’ve made a lot of progress, but I’d rather just do it now like the doctor has recommended since August is the best time of the year for me to do something like this. I’d prefer to do it now and just have it done.

I’m really excited to have the time to focus on some new business projects, fitness, and healthy eating this month. This morning I made a bunch of vegetable juice, a green smoothie, a raw Mexican vegetable soup, and washed a bunch of kale for a salad so I have my food organized enough to last me the day.

So that’s my update, 3 hours in. Let’s see how it goes!

Evening follow up:

Wore my “CAN’T SPEAK” button to the gym and also made it through a visit to the pet store and health food store. I felt kind of awkward but managed. Later, Geoff and I were sitting around doing different things on our laptops and I mindlessly spoke to him about something unimportant. I see now that it takes constant awareness not to speak because it’s something that really we would all do thoughtlessly most of the time. Still, today is almost done and I think I’ve done already for my first go at it.